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Subject: Re: tree
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 7 Apr 2009 13:05:07 -0400

TEXT/PLAIN (61 lines)

On Tue, 7 Apr 2009, Mark S. <[log in to unmask]> asked:

> But the libretto still must make some sense. From what does Siegmund pull the 
> sword? The stove?

At last night's performance (btw, Otto Schenk had about 3 curtain calls and 
received quite a lot of applause) I found myself being really moved by the drama 
and the personal relationships presented.  I was wondering how could the Ring
setting be transposed in a way that it could be made "more" relevant to people 
living in 21st century (and, sitting in the Dress Circle thanks to the courtesy 
of a former coworker, my impression was that this is a more affluent crowd 
than the Family Circle).

Issues of power, family hierarchy and forbidden relationships kept me thinking 
of early 1930s movies.  These films sometimes mention abortion, divorce, 
impossible relationships - it all sounds typical of today but must have been 
much more scandalous in the 1930s.  And everyone is outfitted with lovely 
costumes in luxurious looking houses that few people at that time could really 

So perhaps an imaginative Ring production could take place at "The Valhalla" - 
a high-rise luxury apartment building on Park Avenue (Wotan is evidently a 
celebrity architect).  If you've read about one of those apartments you can 
imagine a multi-room and perhaps multi-floor dwelling.

Hunding's hut could be transposed to a brownstone on a side street (maybe in 
Hell's Kitchen or even the Lincoln Center of the 1930s).  Years ago 
my family almost moved into a brownstone near the New School which had a 
humongous vine growing on it.  So why can't the building be "attached" to a 
tree?  Perhaps it's a tree whose foundations were so entrenched that removing 
it would have endangered the house - hence Hunding built his "hut" (it's a hut 
compared to a Park Avenue duplex) around the tree.  Walk around Greenwich 
Village and you'll see a number of similar situations.

It might sound silly, but I think a lot of symbolic aspects of nature are lost 
on most people (then again, I noticed that where I was sitting, almost no one 
was looking at the Met Titles, so evidently we all knew the opera well enough).
Having the opera transposed to an urban environment might connect more with 
current audiences.  And if they design really moving sets that convey force and 
are even attractive to the eye, it might be a successful project.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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